Opinion  April 13, 2022  Ivy Pratt

Jeff Koons Plans to Put Sculpture on the Moon

Jeff Koons will send his work to the moon in a bid to be the first artist to do so. The artist has also announced his impending NFT debut, which will be tied to the moon landing. And thus, those who love to hate Koons finally have some new fodder.

Koons has long been a source of contention for both art world experts and passers-by. The contemporary artist specializes in sculptures of everyday objects that reach sky-high numbers at auction. His balloon animal sculptures have sold for as much as $91 million. Although this author can understand the distaste many would have for such production, it is impossible to deny the deeper meaning that is intrinsically tied to such a phenomenon—however coincidental and frustrating it might be. 

This bid to put art on the moon may justifiably push such frustrations to new heights. Perhaps it would be comforting to know that he might not get there first.

As part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s endeavor to return United States astronauts to the moon, it has asked several space-robotics companies to design lunar pods that can be used to ferry supplies like scientific instruments and gear. Two of these companies have decided to include works of art in their designs. 

SpaceX is working with Koons and the United Launch Alliance—a joint venture by Lock-heed Martin and Boeing Co.—has joined forces with artist Sacha Jafri, another top artist at auction who is known for having created the world’s largest painting.

Each artist, and company, seems determined to finish first but it is currently unclear who will actually do so. Even then, according to some, neither will be the first.

As Smithsonian curator Carolyn Russo told The Wall Street Journal, a stamp-sized tile is believed to have been smuggled aboard the last manned moon mission, Apollo 12. Although no visual documentation was made, it was reportedly left on the surface, attached to a lunar module. Entitled Moon Museum, the piece features etched drawings by a long list of big-name artists:  Robert Rauschenberg, John Chamberlain, Claes Oldenburg, Forrest Myers, David Novros, and Andy Warhol.

Even so, Sacha and Koons remain determined to make history. 

Koons’ piece Moon Phases comprises a cube containing 125 small moons in various phases. Once the piece has reached the moon’s surface, it will be photographed and these photos will be minted as Koons' first round of NFTs. The artist plans to sell 100 of these. Each purchase will provide the buyer with ‘ownership,’ albeit long-distance, of one of the small moons in Moon Phases and a basketball-sized metallic moon with a gemstone marking the art piece’s location on the surface.

The first round of about fifteen NFTs will reportedly be priced at $2 million. The cost may increase as new rounds are issued.

About the Author

Ivy Pratt

Ivy Pratt is a regular contributor to Art & Object.

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